Interview With Jacynth Bassett Owner Of Fashion Boutique the-Bias-Cut

Today on the blog I am interviewing Jacynth Bassett, the owner of the-Bias-Cut - an online fashion boutique that celebrates style at every age.

Could you tell me about why you started your business and your ethos of why ageism is never in style?

I first had the idea for the-Bias-Cut when I was 19, whilst studying Law at Cambridge. Having realised I didn’t want to become a lawyer, I decided I wanted to start my own business, ideally in Fashion as it had always been one of my main passions.

Whilst I had a lot of respect for the Fashion Industry, I knew it was by no means perfect, and I wanted to make a difference. It was 2am one night and, unable to sleep, I started thinking about my mum. Like me, she loved fashion and style, but since her late 40s had started to feel irrelevant in the eyes of the Fashion Industry, largely due to her age. She was fed up with youth-focused imagery and struggled to find beautiful, quality clothes that were both flattering and stylish. This both saddened and frustrated me.

Thorough research proved that many of her peers felt the same way. So it became my mission to cut through ageism in the Fashion Industry once and for all. There are so many stereotypes and ageist attitudes regarding older women and fashion, which are both insulting and nonsensical – why would a love for style and wanting to look good just disappear with age?

So, as soon as I graduated, I started working on creating a contemporary shopping platform and community that truly celebrates and empowers women of all ages. It’s about being inclusive rather than exclusive – from our use of ‘real women’ models of different ages, shapes, heights and sizes, to our ‘shop by body’ filters, to our unique curation process.

Our “Ageism Is Never In Style” ethos and movement is an extension of this. It brings together women and men globally, to raise awareness and encourage discussion on the topic. Whilst we are seeing more inclusivity in the industry, there is still a very long way to go before ageism is no longer entrenched in it. So it keeps the conversation going.

What’s particularly important is that we welcome women of all ages to engage – after all ageism is the only ‘ism’ that inevitably affects all of us.

What do you look for when you source new labels?

I have a very particularly specific set of criteria:

  • Quality - The label must value quality and gorgeous fabrics so that they will last and be loved for years.
  • Flattering cuts – Women’s bodies change over time, so I only work with labels that appreciate that and create pieces that will flatter different figures.
  • Ethical - The label has to believe in ethical and fair manufacturing standards, and the price has to be fair and reflective of the work and craftsmanship that has gone into them. A lot of our pieces are handcrafted, and showcase local artisan techniques
  • Attitude – I select labels that have a unique, often playful, point of view. Style should be fun and a reflection of who you are on the inside. So the labels are unique without being eccentric, and won’t be found easily elsewhere
  • Modern and stylish, without being trend driven –The label has to be contemporary without being a slave to trends. Their pieces have to stand the test of time.
  • If I won’t wear it, we won’t sell it – I work on the principle that, if I at 26 wouldn’t feel stylish wearing it, then why should someone older? She might style the item differently, but she shouldn’t only have ‘second-best’ clothing available to her.

Of course, they must also support our ethos. I still meet plenty of designers who are inherently ageist even if they’d like to say otherwise. In one case, a representative for a label told me that their main customer is over 40, but the designer wouldn’t want to acknowledge it. And another designer admitted to me he refused to dress an A-lister for the BAFTAs because of her age.

Not only do I apply the strict criteria when finding labels, but also when curating our collections. I spend hours going through each label’s collection, filtering it down so we only feature the very best pieces. It’s why our return rate is ¼ of the online average. Occasionally we’ve had customers ask why we don’t sell a particular piece by a designer and have bought it elsewhere, but then they’ve come back to us to say they had to return it, so understand why we didn’t stock it!

What's your best selling item (or brand) and why do you think it sells well?

Cashmere sells very well – it’s why I’ve started with it for my eponymous label. There are lots of options out there, so we only sell fun, unusual designs which our customers love. They can also feel confident shopping for it online, knowing what they will get. Shopping online for clothes can be difficult, especially when you don’t know cuts or quality, and photography can make anything look good. So cashmere – and knitwear generally - is a safe option; a good first purchase.

That said, our jackets and dresses sell really well too, and it’s lovely seeing how our customers’ confidence grows to try new pieces. They might have started with cashmere, but they progress to other labels and styles. POM Amsterdam and Fabienne Chapot are particularly popular – they offer fun, unique prints and vibrant styles that are still very flattering and versatile

What’s your about opinion about fast fashion?

As someone who loves style and shopping, I understand the craving for new clothes. And, of course, some people cannot afford more expensive items. But I feel fast fashion is very damaging, both to the industry and society.

My feelings can be perfectly summarized by this quote from Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort in 2016:

“How can a product that needs to be sown, grown, harvested, combed, spun, knitted, cut and stitched, finished, printed, labelled, packaged and transported cost a couple of Euros? On the hunt for cheaper deals, volume companies, but also some luxury brands, have trusted the making of their wages to underpaid workers living in dire condition. What’s more, these prices imply the clothes are to be thrown away, discarded like a condom before being loved and savoured, teaching young consumers that fashion has no value. We should make legislation to have minimum prices." 

Fast fashion encourages undervaluing clothes and the industry as a whole and often results in people believing more expensive clothes are just overpriced. It may be the case with big known designers where you’re often paying for the name, but not with smaller independent brands. Which makes it harder for them.

But we shouldn’t attack or shame those who do buy into fast fashion. Instead, it’s about having a conversation and educating society on ways to shop differently.

Who inspires you in the fashion world? 

Caryn Franklin MBE. She’s the definition of a trailblazer. Aside from her endless list of accomplishments, she is a dedicated fashion activist, calling herself a “Disruptive Fashion Lover” – someone who critiques and changes the fashion industry she supports. She challenges the fashion norms and encourages brands and companies to embrace diversity and authenticity.

Whenever I hear her speak, I’m inspired. She is so passionate, eloquent, insightful and measured. I’ve met her a couple of times, and whilst I don’t know her well, she has been very supportive of my activities and introduced journalists to me.

Moreover, when faced with big obstacles, I remind myself of her tireless commitment to changing the Fashion Industry. For example, for years she was one of the only people to speak out against photographer and “fashion predator” Terry Richardson (allegations started in 2001), with few willing to listen. Journalists weren’t interested, and she said she ended up virtually knocking on doors asking why brands were still happy to work with him. But she relentlessly carried on and, finally, due to the Weinstein expose, the industry paid attention. It proves that whilst it may take time, you really can make a difference.

What are your plans for the future?

For , my current plan is to grow our overall presence. We’re still very small, so I want to get our message out there, both in the UK and internationally.

We’re also going to be introducing some fantastic new labels, and I’m developing my eponymous label. And we’ll be hosting more pop up parties around the UK – with our next one on 11th and 12th April in Mayfair.

I also recently founded a 50+ Industry Activists group, comprised of leading individuals who are challenging ageism in their respective fields, and we have lots of ideas in the works on how we can move the anti-ageism narrative forwards. 

Let me know what do you think of the-Bias-Cut's ethos of why ageism is never in style? Do you think the fashion industry is ageist? 

*Collaborative post


  1. Great post! The older I get, the more confident I feel within my skin.

  2. Jacynth sounds like an amazing woman and her business sounds great! I love her ethos.

  3. I loved reading this honest interview of Jacynth Basset, her style is so unique and relatable to woman of all ages

    1. Exactly, and I think she is wiser than her age (now I sound old!)

  4. Absolutely love this! Really great! We need more diversity in fashion.

  5. I love their ethos! My mum also struggles to find stuff that she likes and suits her as she feels so much stuff is marketed towards younger women so I’ll have to get her shopping on this site x

    1. Yes, I think it's a brilliant way to think about fashion. As I get older I don't think of myself as older and I still want stylish clothes!

  6. This is great!! What a fab read and yes we need more flexibility and choice in fashion xx

  7. Loved reading this. I love their ethos and style of clothing would suit all ages

  8. Brilliant interview, loved reading this. Women’s bodies really are changing all the time so it’s great to read about styles that suit all ages.